Five recently established art spaces and projects have carved out places for Black art and thought. As part of Art in America‘s New Talent issue, these new art spaces showcase the importance of community and resilience.
HOME in London
The artist-led multifunctional creative space HOME supports BIPOC and female artists as an art gallery, library, work space, and community venue. Launched in November 2020 by photographer Ronan Mckenzie, HOME is one of the few Black-owned art spaces in London. It offers a variety of exhibitions as well as events such as film nights, supper clubs, artist talks, workshops, portfolio reviews, musical performances, and life drawing classes. Additionally, HOME has partnered with local charities and social organizations.
SON. in Los Angeles
Somewhat elusive and seemingly ever-evolving, SON. is a platform that showcases Black male identity through art, music, film, and activism. Since its inception by sound artist Justen LeRoy in 2016—at which time it was expected to be a one-off photography exhibition—the project has morphed from a magazine, a monthly radio show on NTS Radio, an online platform, a podcast, and a moniker for LeRoy himself in a musical performance at MoMA PS1. In 2019, SON. took over the South Central, Los Angeles, barbershop Touched by an Angel to offer readings, recreational clubs, art exhibitions, and a discussion series. LeRoy is expected to showcase SON. this summer through music, conversation fragments, and sound-bites at Made in L.A. 2020.
Conceptual Fade in Philadelphia
Half gallery and half reference library, Conceptual Fade is a project started by artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden to foster a deeper understanding of Black art and thought. McClodden drew inspiration from the intimacy of Japanese micro jazz bars and the mission of the defunct Philadelphia-based, Black-led organization Pyramid Club. The gallery’s sleek 135-square-foot black interior offers both an intimate retreat and an opportunity to engage work by intergenerational Black visual artists, writers, musicians, and designers. McClodden’s personal library—including a selection of Black artists’ monographs, exhibition catalogues, and related publications—is also made accessible for public research.
Black Art Library in Detroit
Not yet a physical location, the Black Art Library aims to inform the public about Black achievements in modern and contemporary art. Founded by art educator Asmaa Walton in February 2020, the Library—funded by donations and online sales—maintains a collection of volumes on Black art and artists, and encourages buyers to support Black-owned bookstores. Walton’s undertaking, which started as a pop-up last fall at the 48HR Complex in Highland Park, Michigan, most recently took the form of an art exhibition of the same name at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit as well as a virtual book club. The Black Art Library is now fundraising to expand its collection and secure a permanent space in the city.
Storage in New York
Last fall, in response to growing racial tensions and the coronavirus pandemic, artist Onyedika Chuke transformed his refurbished Bowery studio into the project space Storage. As a collaborative artist- and community-driven gallery, Storage highlights marginalized artists, prompting critical discourse around the makers and their work. Chuke has hosted a series of virtual conversations among artists, activists, scholars, and local residents, and is set to launch Application Readiness and Techniques, a mentorship that, beginning in September, will foster arts education, job readiness, and financial literacy for BIPOC teens and young adults.